Inc. 5000 CEOs talk about the most fun they've had at work, what secrets about them would surprise their employees, and what they really think about earning an M.B.A.
Let's Talk From top left: Russell Sarder, Amy Kelly, J.J. Frazer, Ken Ampy; bottom: Thomas Gruner, Michele Sutton, Aaron and Jacob Dallek, Daniel Turner
We chatted with attendees at the 2011 Inc. 500|5000 Conference about their businesses and how they got started. We felt compelled to ask about some of their childhood memories and secrets, too. Here's a sampling of their answers.
When did you start your first business, and what was it?
"Selling Snapple out of my school locker." —Daniel Turner, president, TCG
"A computer consulting business, when I was 14." —Aaron Dallek, co-founder, Cheap Ink
"A promotional products company called Taste of Jamaica, in 1981." —Michele Sutton, president, Sutton Ferneries
What's the weirdest thing in your office?
"A suitcase full of broken glass." —Gene Gray, president, Innovative-IDM
"A sword, inspired by The Art of War." —Ken Ampy, CEO, Astyra Corporation
"A 6-foot-tall Homer Simpson cutout." —Daniel Turner
"A green protection stone, given to me by a palm reader 10 years ago." —Joseph Hodges, CEO, Inetico
"A bust of John Wayne and a 3-foot-tall Godzilla." —J.J. Frazer, president, New Horizon Security Services
"Besides me? A 200-pound wooden cell phone covered in crystals." —Wasim Khaled, CEO, Luxmobile
"My brother." —Darren Slosberg, CEO, Legacy Converting
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.
ISSIE LAPOWSKY is a staff writer at Inc. magazine. Her work has also been featured in New York Daily News, BlackBook magazine and The Brooklyn Rail. She lives in Manhattan. @issielapowsky